Pro-Life Congressman Has the Backbone to Stand Up to Abortion

National   |   Andrew Bair   |   Feb 14, 2012   |   11:55AM   |   Washington, DC

In politics, pro-life advocates aren’t foreign to being let down by their elected officials. (Bart Stupak, anyone?) However, there are a few members of Congress with the backbone to consistently stand up for unborn children and their mothers. One such member is five-term Congressman Tim Murphy (R) from Pennsylvania.

Congressman Tim Murphy maintains model rating from the National Right to Life Committee, having stood strong against the pro-abortion Obama healthcare law, against taxpayer funding of abortion, against embryonic stem cell research and federal funding for Planned Parenthood. Murphy has been outspoken in opposition to the recent Obama Administration attacks on conscience rights.

I had a chance to sit down with Congressman Murphy following this year’s March for Life and got a glimpse into what drives a pro-life congressman to fight for the cause day in and day out.

Murphy, who holds a Ph.D. and serves as the co-chair of the Republican Doctors Caucus, says the reason he entered politics in the first place came as a result of working in the NICU unit at Mercy Hospital in Pittsburgh. Murphy saw hundreds of premature babies in the NICU, some of which tragically inherited drug addictions from their mothers.

Murphy had a conversation with a nurse about these babies, confessing how heartbroken he was to see these cases. Murphy says he told the nurse something had to be done to help parents and their children who faced such dire circumstances. The nurse responded, “What are you going to do? Are you going to run for office?” And the light clicked for Murphy. He was determined to enter public life to help support parents and their children, especially those in greatest need.

After serving in the Pennsylvania General Assembly, Murphy was elected to Congress in 2002. Murphy could not have been elected at a more critical time for the pro-life movement. Just six months after taking the oath of office, Murphy cast his vote in favor of the historic federal ban on partial-birth abortion. Also, within his first term, Murphy cast an important vote for the landmark Unborn Victims of Violence Act, the law that ensures justice for both a mother and her unborn child if they would tragically be the victims of a violent crime.

Throughout Murphy’s career, he has not shied away from tough pro-life votes. At a time when many, even in his own party, were voicing support for embryo-destructive research, Murphy was a firm voice for the life. He voted against the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2007. Murphy was one of only 5 members of Pennsylvania’s then 19-member Congressional delegation to vote against the bill.

Murphy has vigorously defended conscience rights throughout this time in Congress. Last year, Murphy voted for the Foxx Amendment to HR 1216, which provides legal protections for medical professionals who object to aiding in or performing abortions. As a Catholic and a doctor himself, Murphy has ardently opposed the recent mandates issued the Obama Administration forcing faith-based institutions to include things like contraception and sterilization in their insurance coverage.

Over the weekend, President Obama sought to quell the rising opposition to the mandate by putting forth a so-called compromise. The latest version of the mandate did little to assuage the fears of pro-life advocates and religious leaders. The National Right to Life Committee released this statement over the weekend:

“In response to criticism of its recent regulation requiring coverage of FDA-approved birth control drugs and devices, the White House today announced a purported “compromise” under which insurance plans will be required to provide the coverage in all plans, without charging anything additional for it.

The Administration position is that insurers can be required to provide the coverage for “free” because birth control is less expensive than childbirth.  The National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), the national federation of right-to-life organizations, issued the following comment, any part of which may be attributed to NRLC Legislative Director Douglas Johnson:

“President Obama today promulgated a scam that, if he is re-elected, will allow him to mandate that every health plan in America cover abortion on demand,” said NRLC Legislative Director Douglas Johnson.  “The same twisted logic will be applied:  By ordering health plans to cover elective abortion, health plans would save the much higher costs of prenatal care, childbirth, and care for the baby — and under the Obama scam, if a procedure saves money, then that means that you’re not really paying for it when the government mandates it.”

The National Right to Life PAC and the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation PAC have both issued endorsements of Congressman Murphy for reelection in 2012. In the endorsement letter, the National Right to Life PAC stated, “We believe that your exemplary pro-life record has earned you the support of all voters who are concerned with the right to life and with the protection of the most vulnerable members of the human family.”

The Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation PAC endorsement also stated, “Your strong pro-life voting record in Congress shows your unwavering commitment to protecting the sanctity of innocent human life. We especially commend your support for the Protect Life Act, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, and the repeal of the pro-abortion Obamacare health care law.”

Congressman Murphy is an ally in the fight for conscience rights and a lifelong advocate on behalf of the unborn. Despite his clear dedication to our cause, some on the right have pushed for a primary challenge to Murphy. In a time when the pro-life movement is focused on holding the House and retaking the Senate and White House, the last thing we should be doing is ousting our closest allies.

Attacking our own is a supreme waste of time and treasure. Pennsylvania will be a key battleground in the race for the US Senate and the White House. Pro-life advocates should devote their efforts to these causes and to protecting our pro-life members of Congress like Tim Murphy. Murphy has demonstrated time and time again he willing to take the tough votes and make a difference for unborn children and their mothers. We don’t vote to make a statement, we vote to make a difference.